Welcoming the ASEAN-Australia Melbourne Declaration 

07 March 2024

A New Approach (ANA) welcomes the Melbourne Declaration made at the ASEAN-Australia Special Summit and its recognition of the important contribution of arts and cultural exchange.

The Summit marked 50 years since Australia became ASEAN’s first Dialogue Partner, with Leaders affirming their commitment to working together to address challenges and embrace opportunities for the benefit of all.

At the Summit, Leaders adopted the Melbourne Declaration which sets out the next 50 years of enduring partnership including a focus on deepening cultural connections, promoting cultural literacy and strengthening people-to-people links.

ANA CEO, Kate Fielding, said it was pleasing to see arts and cultural exchange recognised as an important way to enrich linkages between ASEAN and Australia.

“The Melbourne Declaration highlights security, stability, sustainability and prosperity as key priorities for our region. The evidence clearly shows arts and culture has a direct, positive impact on each of these,” said Ms Fielding.

“We need to be a culturally proactive nation. We can harness the power of arts and culture to shape our shared future. We can use it to work across our national boundaries to truly understand each other as we are now.

“This is important work for today but also for the future. Our emerging leaders must be supported to develop cultural literacy skills to enable them to engage confidently, competently and meaningfully in our region. The Melbourne Declaration is a positive step towards achieving this.”

Echoing the ambition of the Melbourne Declaration, ANA has previously called for the elevation of the existing meeting of Cultural Ministers to a formalised Ministerial Council reporting annually to National Cabinet. ANA has also called for the creation of a single institution to lead Australia’s international cultural relations.

For more information read ANA’s 2024-25 Pre-Budget Submission, Opportunities towards becoming a cultural powerhouse.

Media enquiries: Alexandra Nichols – 0431 468 665 or alexandra.nichols@newapproach.org.au

New Approach acknowledges that it meets, works and travels on the lands of First Nations peoples. We pay our respects to Elders past and present, and to all First Nations peoples.